Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Eternal rest grant unto Keith Austin, O Lord ... (expanded)

Eternal rest grant unto Keith Austin, O Lord,
and let perpetual light shine upon him.
May he rest in peace.
I had a call from my brother saying that my father died around 6:00 this evening.

The good thing is that I feel he at least had his toes over the line into Purgatory. I never thought I'd be able to say that. Thank you St. Monica and St. Augustine for praying alongside me (and most probably more faithfully)! It almost did take the ten years I vowed to pray for my parents to come to know God. I only can give thanks also that I didn't know it took St. Monica 26 years of praying for her son, Augustine. I thought it was ten years and vowing to match that if necessary was bad enough!

For at least a month before my father's final illness began, my prayers for him would result in this thought which ran seemingly nonstop when he crossed my mind, "The father of so many tears will not be lost."

This, of course, echoes what the Bishop of Tagaste had said to St. Monica in an effort to get her to stop bothering him in her entreaties for help with wayward son Augustine, who later became one of the greatest Doctors of the Church: "It is impossible that the son of so many tears will be lost." That was indeed a comforting reminder to which I clung and one which I was privileged to see God answer richly in Dad's last days. Not only for my father, but for my mother too. My cup runneth over ...

These lines from one of my favorite Easter hymns repeat themselves in my mind and heart as they did after my last talk with my father:
The strife is o’er, the battle done;
The victory of life is won;
The song of triumph has begun: Alleluia!
My heartfelt thanks go to anyone and everyone who prayed for my father over these last few weeks of his illness. Truly spiritual battles were fought, warfare was waged, and the good fight won. I praise God and offer this prayer for my father and all my loved ones who are now gone from us.
God our Father,
Your power brings us to birth,
Your providence guides our lives,
and by Your command we return to dust.

Lord, those who die still live in Your presence,
their lives change but do not end.
I pray in hope for my family,
relatives and friends,
and for all the dead known to You alone.

In company with Christ,
Who died and now lives,
may they rejoice in Your kingdom,
where all our tears are wiped away.
Unite us together again in one family,
to sing Your praise forever and ever.
Prayers are solicited, if we happen to cross your mind, for my father's soul and for the comfort and peace of my mother (and of my sister as she does all the earthly stuff that has to be organized right now). Also, I ask your prayers for my mother, that her faith will continue to grow and be of comfort during this hard time. And also that she may begin this journey without my father with her hand in God's. Thank you ...

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